Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own Pokémon Emerald… Or Pokémon Special, or even the anime for that matter. Why would I be writing fanfiction about it if I did?

Author's Note: Uh… Yeah, after a nice long break of having this down, I'm re-posting it. It probably wouldn't have been down so long if I hadn't lost the old nine chapters, and if I could read my own horrible handwriting. Anyway, edits aplenty are ahead, and will be most evident in a couple of teams, and one or two of the chapters becoming less wordy.

Prologue: Vs Skiploom!

"And for our final test—Miss Maple and Mr. Turner! Please come forward!"

Lynnie Maple grinned as she rose from her seat. At Earl's Pokémon Academy, practice battles were a weekly grade, and she excelled at them. Her contrarily poor written grades irked her parents, but she seemed to recall types and attacks by "just doing it." However, she really tried not to dwell on her low test grades so much…

As Lynnie made her way up to Earl's podium, her test partner, Theo Turner, swaggered up from his desk and flipped his blue hat backwards. His yellow T-shirt and denim shorts were ridiculously baggy, and Lynnie always got a good laugh over how he tried to make himself look less scrawny. After the pair had reached the front of the room, their balding headmaster handed each of them a Pokéball.

"Your goal is to make use of combination attacks," Earl explained briefly. "Now, go!"

Combination attacks were one of Lynnie's favorite topics. She couldn't memorize them for a test to save her life, but in a battle she could think quickly enough to pair up attacks depending on what Pokémon she received. Studying didn't work, but practicing did.

Lynnie eagerly released her test Pokémon, a Donphan. Noticing the Skiploom floating near Theo, Lynnie crossed her eyes as she realized she had a type disadvantage. She soon grinned again, however, as she remembered a pair of Donphan's attacks.

"Skiploom, use Sunny Day!"

"Defense Curl!"

Donphan tightly curled itself into a ball. Skiploom closed its eyes in concentration, and the classroom suddenly grew warmer and brighter.

"Solar Beam!" Theo smirked.

"Use Roll Out to dodge and hit it!" Lynnie countered.

Skiploom tilted itself forward slightly as it shot a lime-green beam out of the flower on its head. However, Donphan rolled out of the way just in time, causing the attack to leave a mark on the floor. As Donphan built up momentum, a few students in the front row shrieked as it rolled dangerously close to the desks, but it quickly turned and crashed into Skiploom. The plant Pokémon was almost instantly knocked out.

"Huh?" Theo blinked.

"That's right!" Lynnie pointed a victorious finger at the short boy. "Just 'cuz you think you have a type advantage doesn't mean you really do!"

"True, Miss Maple. However…" Earl closed his eyes and sighed as he withdrew the two test Pokémon. "I do wish you'd be that confident on the paper tests."

"Wh-what's that supposed to mean?" Lynnie demanded as she felt her face turn red; a few students in the back of the room had started to laugh.

Earl simply shook his head at her and turned back to the class. "This concludes the battling portion of the tests. I will hand out the written section after lunch. For some of you, it may be wise to study, but those of you who are ahead may choose to work on tomorrow's essay."

Lynnie sighed in frustration as she headed to the school's library.

Grumbling under her breath, Lynnie pulled a red T-shirt over her head the next morning. She'd apparently forgotten to set her alarm clock again, and both of her parents were already gone. She knew her mother had left early to pick up a shipment of parts from her computer company, but her father was only Ho-oh knows where…

Tying her green bandanna over her head, Lynnie grabbed her matching side-slung school bag and proceeded to clear the stairs down to the kitchen in record time. She grabbed an apple and her lunch from the refrigerator, and hurried out the front door. Moments later she realized she hadn't locked it, and had to double back to do so.

Fortunately, her house wasn't too far from the academy, and a few minutes later Lynnie ducked under a window to finish eating her apple. She sighed when she got down to the core, and tossed it towards a nearby pair of Rattata. The two instantly began fighting over it, and Lynnie blinked. Then she turned back to the school building.

I hope Earl hasn't started lecturing yet…

Lynnie crossed her eyes as she raised herself onto her knees. She carefully raised herself just high enough to peek through the window, but quickly ducked back down. Her bare knees were starting to get cold—the ground was still wet from the rain the night before—but Lynnie was considering crawling away from the cliché brick building to avoid getting in trouble.

Realizing she'd just get in more trouble if she skipped school, the blonde girl sighed again, edged towards the door, and stood up. Her knees and shoes had gotten dirty from crawling, but since she was already late, there wasn't anything she could do besides hope no one noticed. Lynnie slowly opened the door, quietly closed it behind her, and tiptoed to her desk, or at least until…

"Ah, Miss Maple, I'm glad you've joined us. I assume you have last night's homework?"

Lynnie cringed as Earl turned from the chalkboard. The fact that he'd only written a few lines of notes wasn't very comforting.

"Yes, sir," Lynnie muttered, pulling her somewhat crumpled essay out of her bag. Feeling the stares of her classmates, Lynnie slowly brought the paper (a response to the prompt Compare and contrast the status ailments paralysis and sleep) up to the front of the room. After dropping it on Earl's podium, she scurried back to her seat.

"I'll speak to you before lunch, Miss Maple. Now please get out your notebook—we're beginning to discuss Bug- and Grass-type Pokémon."

"So, what did he say?"

Lynnie sighed as her friend Crys waited expectantly for an answer. Crys was fourteen (two years older than Lynnie) and was already an accomplished trainer. Why Crys still had to go to school was beyond Lynnie, but Crys had once explained it as "getting a new perspective."

"We-ell… He docked me ten points on the essay for being late. Then he kindly informed me that since I didn't do so well on the written test yesterday, if I didn't get a seventy or better on the next one…"

"He'll call your parents?" Crys finished.

"Yeah," Lynnie grumbled, chewing angrily on a piece of her ham sandwich, as if her test grade was its fault.

"Did you study at all for it?" Crys asked as she delicately took a sip of water.

"Yes." Lynnie rolled her eyes. "But what about that last question, huh? List at least three Pokémon from each type, including Pokémon not native to Johto if necessary? I almost forgot that there even were at least three Ghost types!"

"What will I do with you, Lynnie?" Crys shook her head, her blue ponytails bouncing slightly.

"You could always just lend me your Pokédex," Lynnie suggested, trying to look innocent.

"That would be cheating," Crys accused.


Crys simply sighed as Lynnie finished off her sandwich. Lynnie opened her mouth again, but Earl immediately stood up and knocked on his podium for attention.

"Everyone back to your seats! Lunch break is over!"

Students scrambled back to their desks, throwing away empty water bottles and clicking pens in preparation for more notes. Lynnie quickly shoved her sandwich wrapper back into her bag and held her pen over her paper expectantly.

"Where'd we leave off… Oh yes, common attacking patterns between Bug- and Grass-types… Status-inflicting attacks are very, very simple! Are you writing this down?"

Lynnie crossed her eyes, scribbling hastily to keep up…

"Mom, Dad! I'm home!"

Lynnie left her school bag near the front door as she ran upstairs to her parents' room. Her mother was sitting at the computer desk, absently fiddling with a few wires in the CPU.


Mrs. Maple stood up quickly, a somewhat distant look in her eyes. "Oh, Lynnie—you're soaked!"

Lynnie looked down at her clothes. Her red T-shirt and black shorts clung to her body, and her bandanna trapped her wet hair to her head. It had started raining again on the way home, and despite the previous night's weather, Lynnie hadn't brought her umbrella to school. She'd figured she lived so close to Earl's Pokémon Academy (unlike Crys, who took a bus from New Bark Town) that it really wouldn't have mattered.

"Yeah, I guess I should've paid more attention. Anyway, where's Dad? The house was empty when I woke up this morning."

Mrs. Maple averted her eyes back to the CPU. "He… He said he'd get back to us by Sunday, but… Well, we'll just have to wait for him to call back…"

"Why Sunday?" Lynnie cried. "That's two whole days from now! Where is he, Mom? What's he doing? Did someone we know get sick or something?"

Lynnie realized she'd been talking faster than she'd meant to when she stopped to breathe. Mrs. Maple sighed, still not looking at her daughter.

"Lynnie, dear, have you heard about Petalburg City, in Hoenn?"

"Yeah, there was an article about in the paper last night, why?"

"So you know that the old gym leader recently retired, and that they've been looking for a new one, right?"

"Yes… And this has exactly what to do with Dad?"

Mrs. Maple finally looked back at Lynnie, and the girl blinked at the slightly confused look on her mother's face.

"You… don't know?"

"Um, no…"

"He wants to try to apply for the position, dear."

There was dead silence. Then…

"But why? We'll have to move if he makes it! What about school, and my grades? And what do I day to Crys?" Lynnie exploded.

"Lynnie, slow down!" Her mother pinched the bridge of her nose. "You'll have to talk to your father about this—it's his choice! Besides, he called me earlier and said that, due to a scheduling issue, he'll have to wait until tomorrow to apply, which is why we'll have to wait until Sunday to find out!"

"But you know he'll be the one to make it!" Lynnie shot back. "I hardly ever even get to see him anymore because he's always training!"

Lynnie stormed away into her own room before Mrs. Maple could respond. She flung herself onto her bed, ignoring the rain that was still pounding away outside. Not feeling bothered to change, Lynnie simply took off her wet bandanna—she didn't her wet head to develop into a cold, on top of most likely having to move.

Despite the fact that it was only 4:30, the rain made the sky outside her window look prematurely dark. Lynnie angrily turned off her lamp, letting her room go dark as well. She squeezed her eyes closed, trying to fall asleep and hoping that somehow her father wouldn't make the job.

Saturday afternoon, Norman called his wife from a payphone outside his new gym. The scheduling issue had been caused by two of the applicants backing out, so the testing had ultimately gone by faster despite the delay. A friend of his who lived in nearby Littleroot Town would help them find a house, and Norman himself planned to stay in the gym and set up a cot until the house was ready.

Lynnie, listening to the conversation through an extension, slammed down the receiver and stomped back upstairs into her room.